Anioma people comprise of series of towns and communities currently inhabiting and located in Delta State, South-southern region of Nigeria. The people of this region are calm and wonderful, while the region has been described as one of the most peaceful in the Nigerian polity. The Anioma people are naturally blessed with beautiful culture and creative and enduring art performances which could hold anyone spell bound.
The Anioma culture over the time has become distinct and typical to the region, thus no ethnicity or group of people can justifiably lay claims to this culture because it is unique to the region. The uniqueness of this culture has ordinarily on its own tended to fend off arguments from quarters laying claims to the beautiful culture of this people. The Anioma culture they say speaks for itself. It has also beaten the imagination of several cultural observers on how speedily the culture and tradition of Anioma people have become homogenous in spite of the group not having common ancestral history as many historians mistakenly assume.
Although certain communities in this region can lay claim to Igbo ancestry as supported by oral history, many of these group have their histories obviously not linking them with Igbo home as their place of origin. It is for this reason that those ignorant on Anioma history fail to understand that in Anioma more than 12 languages exists in this region alone. The Agbor people who are of Ika ethnic group but agreed to join the union of Anioma with the rest of their neighbouring communities scattered around the region chiefly because all the towns and communities in this region have had a common history of relationship even many centuries before the arrival of the Europeans, and have shared common culture speak Ozzara and Ika.
The Ika people in their native language know and acknowledge this; only early Europeans and visitors to the region failed to understand this because they were particularly not interested in studying the social aspects of the people but greedily centered their interest on trade. The Ugbodu speak Olukumi (extinct form of Yoruba language,) Igbo and Igara. The Igara language is not typical to Ugbodu, else where in Evbu this language is also in use in addition to Igbo language. In Igbodo, Igbo and Ika is spoken by the people. Ika is a language similar to Bini. These languages strange to Igbo reflect in everyday usage in names of humans, articles, and chieftaincy titles shared with the Edos believed to be the ancestral home of many of these Anioma communities.
It is therefore wonderful that in spite of difference in the histories of Anioma communities unique fusions hold the people together, though some would argue that the fact that these people have related socially and politically have been a major factor responsible for this. Consider also that the Old Benin kingdom has also played a greater role in re-shaping and binding the region together with certain ideas and values typical to Edo.
If you have ever taken your time to watch Anioma people thrill you with any particular aspect of their culture you will surely be full of excitement. The Anioma kind of dance which requires so much energy to do is so unique that you cannot help but fall in love with the people, especially if you watch the Anioma lady traditionally appear in akwa-ocha, with white blouse and red beads, or even in just akwa-ocha tied around her waist up to her chest with her red beads and traditionally dressed her typical of Edo culture, you will indeed admire the Anioma people in their attractive traditional attire.
Several traditional kinds of dances are in existence in Anioma some of which are the Aguba Royal Dance, Uloko Dance, Egu Amala, Okanga, Egwu Osusu (Ukuani,) Egwu Oshushu (Enuani) etc. Many of these dances are typical to the Anioma people, and the people of this region have come to master the art with ease over the time, adding fun to them. I would at this juncture advise many of our cultural organizations to find a way of making sure that our youths is trained in these our dances in order to continue to preserve them.
At the 2008 Anioma cultural fiestas put together by the enviable Organization for the Advancement of Anioma Culture held in Asaba Delta State, Otu One mind from Owa in Ika North East displayed a remarkable feat as the group emerged as the winner of the cultural show. The Uloko Cultural Group of Ndemili, Utagba-Uno in Ndokwa West Local Government had held the record of having won the even twice, in 2005 and 2006. The Otu Chukwuenyirinma of Agbor came second while Uloko Cultural Group of Ndemili, Utagba-Uno in Ndokwa came third.
Other Anioma cultural groups such as Otu Egwu Udo of Afor in Ndokwa East, Otu Egwu Aduko of Eweshi Onicha-Ukwuani in Ndokwa West, Aguba dance Band of Ubulu-Unor, Otu Chukwuedo Cultural Group of Owa-Oyibu In Ika North east, Otu Ita of Ogwashi-Uku in Aniocha south, Otu Egwu Onicha-Olona in Aniocha North have all proved to be force to reckon with in this fiesta. We wonder what happened to cultural groups from Ibusa often referred to as ‘the Congo of Africa”
Kudos should go to the organizers for believing in the
distinct and uniqueness of Anioma culture, that not capable of
being assimilated by any external ethnic group. One must not
also fail to express much gratitude to Anioma Association USA
Inc for striving and succeeding in also advancing the
By Emeka Esogbue